Eating an ayurvedic diet can be a good way to bring balance back into our lives, according to East by West author Jasmine Hemsley.
Ayurvedic eating is all about harmonising mind, body and spirit and balancing your own individual needs with the changing environment that surrounds you.
“Ayurvedic food is by its nature fresh, slow-cooked and comforting – all of which don’t require any culinary goddess skills!” she says.
Finding your dosha or mind-body type is central to Ayurveda – you might find that your style is Vata (air), Pitta (fire) or Kapha (earth), or even a mixture of the three.
You can identify your own dosha blend by taking the test on Jasmine’s website here, then read on to learn more about your dosha personality.
People who lean more towards Vata tend to be creative and energetic, who tend to experience bursts of energy followed by fatigue.
If you’re a Vata, you’re likely to have dry skin and hair and probably have cold feet and hands most of the time. Your build is lean and light and you’re very agile.
You’re not a heavy sleeper and tend to suffer from digestive complaints when your Vata is out of balance.
Vatas love to have exciting new experiences and are quick to anger – but just as quick to forgive.
It’s important for Vata people to eat foods that balance their dominant dosha. Vata is drying, cooling and light, you should opt for warming, oily or heavy foods and try not to overeat.
Go for sweet, heavy fruits such as mangoes, plums, oranges and lemons and avoid dry or lighter fruits like apples, cranberries, pears and pomegranates.
Keep to low-fat dairy products and eat cooked vegetables rather than raw ones as much as you can. Beans can aggravate Vata though, so steer clear!
Pitta people are usually medium in height and build. Pittas have great digestion and usually quite a warm body temperature. They tend to sleep well.
You can spot a Pitta by their lustrous skin, energy and healthy appetite, but an out-of-balance Pitta can be affected by skin rashes, heartburn and indigestion.
Unbalanced Pittas can be very short-tempered. If you identify strongly with Pitta, you’re someone with a strong intellect and make a good leader and speaker when you’re in balance. You’re competitive and enjoy a challenge.
Pitta is hot, sharp and sour, so your food choices will need to counter that in order to create balance.
Avoid eating chilli and cayenne peppers, processed foods, red meat and deep-fried foods and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
Instead, opt for foods that are naturally sweet, bitter and astringent. Choose cooling herbs such as coriander, fennel and cardamom, eat a moderate amount of oil (olive, sunflower, coconut or ghee) and a balance of whole, freshly cooked and raw foods.
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Kaphas have a strong build and lots of physical stamina. You’ll recognise Kapha people by their smooth skin, large eyes and thick hair.
They often sleep soundly and have regular digestion, but an excess of Kapha can lead to weight gain, fluid retention and allergies.
At their best, Kaphas are calm, thoughtful and loving. They make loyal friends and are strong, steady and patient.
When they’re out of balance, though, they can be stubborn and resistant to change.
Because Kapha is heavy, oily and cold you’ll need to choose foods that are light, dry and warm to stay in balance.
Don’t eat a lot of dairy and avoid sweet foods – except honey. Lighter fruits are best for Kaphas such as apples, pears and cranberries.
Include plenty of spices in your diet except salt, reduce nuts and seeds and limit the amount of red meat you consume.
Read more about ayurvedic diets in In The Moment Magazine issue 7.